WBEZ | National Museum of Mexican Art http://www.wbez.org/tags/national-museum-mexican-art Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Video: Sculptor Juan Angel Chavez traces hidden meaning along the border http://www.wbez.org/content/video-sculptor-juan-angel-chavez-traces-hidden-meaning-along-border <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/juan angel chavez.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/33612013?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601"></iframe></p><p>Chicago artist Juan Angel Chavez recalls <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a07bemVFons">a Latin pop song</a> he heard on a recent trip back to his home state of Chihuahua, Mexico. It offered tongue-in-cheek advice to would-be immigrants trying to cross the border into the U.S. “Try not to look like you’re from Neptune,” the lyrics advise. In other words, if you want to cross successfully, try to blend in. Don’t stand out.</p><p>The song’s witticism inspired the title of a new piece by Chavez currently on display at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. <em>Neptuno</em> is a gallery-sized wooden sculpture meant to evoke one of the many underground smugglers tunnels used to transport contraband - including people - from one side of the U.S.- Mexican border to the other. As is the case with real smugglers tunnels, Chavez wanted his to hide in plain sight. The piece is camouflaged: made to look like a giant fallen log, built from scrap wood and building materials scavenged from alleys and workshops around the museum.</p><p>The tunnel is also a metaphor for the overall experience of border crossing, which Chavez knows first hand. Chavez says he came to the U.S. legally in 1985 when he was 13 years old. But over the years, and especially since 9/11, concerns about terrorism and drug trafficking have made border crossing a much more difficult proposition than it was in his youth. Those dangers are more than about one’s immigration status: Border-crossers may also encounter Mexican <em>federales</em>, drug cartels, or Minutemen as they navigate the layers of power and authority that exist in the space between the two countries.</p><p>In the video above, Chavez describes his experiences at the border and explains why he was inspired to bring a rogue tunnel into the rarefied world of art.</p><p>Neptuno <em>by Juan Angel Chavez is on display at the <a href="http://www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/">National Museum of Mexican Art</a> in Pilsen through January 8, 2012.</em> <a href="../../content-categories/96594">Art/Work </a><em>features contemporary visual artists exhibiting in Chicago talking about the inspiration and perspiration behind their creative endeavors.</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 15:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/video-sculptor-juan-angel-chavez-traces-hidden-meaning-along-border Latino youths organize for control of Radio Arte http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/Zavala1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some young radio producers are organizing for control of the Chicago area’s only noncommercial Latino broadcast outlet.</p><p>They’re upset about plans by the National Museum of Mexican Art to sell the building and license of WRTE-FM Chicago (90.5), a youth-run station known as Radio Arte that airs music and public affairs content in English and Spanish.</p><p>Transmitting at 73 watts from Little Village, Radio Arte reaches several other Latino neighborhoods of the city’s Southwest Side and some nearby suburbs.</p><p>The station also trains hundreds of volunteers a year and puts dozens on the air each week. Some have formed a group to try to keep the station in their community’s hands.</p><p>Many of these volunteers share a bond: They don’t have papers to be living in the United States.</p><p>“Radio Arte helped me learn to fight back,” said volunteer Adriana Velázquez, 20, who arrived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood from Mexico at age 11.</p><p>Velázquez graduated from Benito Juárez Community Academy in nearby Pilsen and dreamed of going to college. But her immigration status disqualified her from most financing.</p><p>“So I felt like all I had done all these years in high school — being a good student, a good member of the community — was not worth [anything] to people,” she said Thursday.</p><p>Velázquez said her life changed in 2008, when she started working on a Radio Arte show, <em>Salud: Healing Through the Arts</em>. “That summer was when I started really talking about my status and sharing that with other students who were also going through my situation,” she said.</p><p>“It was kind of a relief to feel [at] home somewhere, not feeling ashamed that I was undocumented,” said Velázquez, now a music-performance student at Northeastern Illinois University.</p><p>Velázquez and the other volunteers want control of Radio Arte’s name, license and transmitter. But they haven’t won over museum officials.</p><p>President Carlos Tortolero said the volunteers were making too much of the museum’s plans. “Radio, to a lot of funders, is old school,” he said. “And we can still do radio classes without a radio station. A lot of people are streaming now online and podcasting.”</p><p>Tortolero said selling the building and radio license would free up resources for projects in other media such as video and computer graphics.</p><p>The Radio Arte volunteers counter that terrestrial radio signals still reach much bigger audiences than web streaming and podcasting do. “That’s especially true in immigrant and low-income communities,” Velázquez said.</p><p>The license’s market value is not clear. Radio Arte staffers say the museum paid $12,000 for it in 1996.</p><p>Tortolero said the museum hasn’t received any offers yet but adds he’s talking with potential buyers, including DePaul University and California-based Radio Bilingüe. He has also met twice with Torey Malatia, chief of Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ.</p><p>Interviewed Wednesday, Malatia said his organization would not have cash for the license at this point. But Chicago Public Media is preparing a proposal to “help with operations and costs,” he said.</p><p>“We deeply respect Radio Arte’s mission,” Malatia said. “If we get involved, we would keep the tradition alive.”</p><p>Malatia said Chicago Public Media would connect Radio Arte to WBEW-FM (89.5), a youth-oriented station known as Vocalo that transmits from Chesterton, Indiana. Vocalo Managing Director Silvia Rivera worked at Radio Arte for more than a decade, including three years as general manager.</p><p>If the Chicago Public Media proposal were accepted, Radio Arte likely would continue broadcasting student- and volunteer-run shows, while “primetime blocks would be simulcast” with Vocalo, according to Malatia.</p><p>“As this story gets out,” Malatia added, “it puts pressure on DePaul and [Radio Bilingüe] to close the deal, and probably will pull some religious buyers into the mix.”</p><p>The building, 1401 W. 18th St., houses Radio Arte’s offices and studios as well as Yollocalli Arts Reach, another youth program of the museum. The wedge-shaped structure has two stories and a partly finished basement. Tortolero said the space totals about 11,000 square feet.</p><p>The museum had a real-estate appraiser look over the building this month but Tortolero said his team has not yet set the asking price.</p><p>The building stands on the corner of Blue Island Avenue and 18th Street. The intersection includes a Mexican-themed plaza that serves as a cultural anchor of Pilsen, a neighborhood whose Latino population has been shrinking.</p><p>The volunteers say they won’t try to buy the building.</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 Museum to sell Radio Arte license, building http://www.wbez.org/story/museum-sell-radio-arte-license-building-86735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-18/Radio Arte.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The license of Chicago’s only noncommercial Latino radio station is for sale.<br> <br> The board of the National Museum of Mexican Art has decided to unload the broadcasting license of youth-run WRTE, 90.5 FM, better known as Radio Arte, according to museum President Carlos Tortolero.&nbsp;Tortolero said the museum also plans to sell an 11,000 square foot building in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood that houses the station and another museum youth program, Yollocalli Arts Reach.<br> <br> “The funding, especially in radio, is going south,” Tortolero said. “We have a building that’s costing us money. We tried to borrow some money to do some things and [banks] are saying, ‘No, no. You can’t.’ The banks are looking at us and saying, ‘Hey, you have to get rid of some of this stuff.’”<br> <br> Tortolero is meeting with potential buyers of the license. Those include Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ. The museum has also brought a real-estate appraiser through the building.&nbsp;Tortolero said the museum, which launched both youth programs in 1997, plans to continue them.<br> <br> But his moves have sparked opposition from some current and former Radio Arte volunteers. They say they’re forming a cooperative to try to buy the station.<br> <br> “We want to keep the frequency, name, license and transmitter,” said Martín Macías Jr., 22, who produces a weekly news show for the station.</p></p> Wed, 18 May 2011 22:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/museum-sell-radio-arte-license-building-86735